Every year it’s same for the Vancouver Canucks, not only the squad that plays at General Motors Place, but even harkening back to the days of the old Pacific Colisseum on the PNE Fairgrounds where the WHL Giants play today. This year is a little different, however, not only because of the whole Todd Bertuzzi fiasco (from what seems like eons ago now, but still exerts its powerful effects today) that is leading Big Bert to play more like a wimped-out Ernie, but the possibility that the (arguably) best hockey team we’ve had in some time might not be making the playoffs.

Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (which guaranteed the latter a playoff spot) was depressing enough, but to lose again tonight (5-4 overtime) to the San Jose Sharks (which guaranteed the latter a playoff spot… seeing a pattern here?) all but eliminates the ‘Nucks from post-season play.

Come next season (I’ve already thrown in the towel for this year’s Stanley Cup. After all, if by the remotest of chances the Canucks actually hit the ice and make the playoffs this year, they’ll likely be the 8th seed and thus face off against the nearly unbeatable Detroit Red Wings. As much as the Canucklehead in me wants to cheer on the home team and see them through to glory, I don’t foresee that happening), we’re going to start this cycle all over again. Everyone in Vancouver — because we’re all hockey freaks; we’re hockeytown, not Detroit damn it — is going to build up high hopes for Marc Crawford (assuming he’ll still be around, which he should be, at least for the early part of the season) and crew, only to be let down come April.

But what can they do? Some have suggested a coaching change, others suggest shaking up the core (though it’s hard for us 604ites to give up Marcus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, or — perish the thought — any member of the “Brothers” line), but most are saying we need a quality #1 goalie. Goaltending is one part of the picture (Vancouver’s gone through more than its fair share of starters), but something else is missing.

What do you think it is?

UPDATE (4/13): With a Canuck loss to the San Jose Sharks, and an Edmonton Oilers win, the Vancouver Canucks have been mathematically eliminated from the NHL post-season. There is absolutely no chance of the Stanley Cup coming to Vancouver this year.